12.1 Thoreau's writings
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), was the nineteenth-century inheritor of Gilbert White's arcadian legacy. Thoreau was both an active field ecologist and a philosopher of nature whose ideas anticipated much in the mood of our own time. In his life and work we find a key expression of the Romantic stance toward the earth, as well as an increasingly complex and sophisticated ecological philosophy. We find in Thoreau, too, a remarkable source of inspiration and guidance for the subversive activism the recent ecology movement.  Thoreau set ecology of wildness against the values and institutions of expansionary capitalism and tried to shift the balance away from the bias against nature in western religion.
The most notable thing about his writings is that they virtually ignore our current concerns with the preservation of habitats and species. When he says "all good things are wild and free", he no doubt includes these things.  But Thoreau mainly talks about human beings, their literature, their myths, their history, and their work and leisure as part and parcel of planet Earth, its cycles, sucessions and dependencies.